Not only the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, but all winter and spring NCAA championships will be canceled due to the spread of coronavirus.
The NCAA released the decision of president Mark Emmert and the Board of Governors Thursday in a statement.
“The decision is based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat, our ability to ensure the events do not contribute to spread of the pandemic, and the impracticality of hosting such events at any time during this academic year given ongoing decisions by other entities,” the statement reads.
Duke and Kansas suspended all athletic competitions hours after the cancellation of the Big Ten Tournament Thursday, which effectively withdrew them from NCAA Tournament participation.
The NBA announced it will suspend its season Wednesday following the news that Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus, and the NHL, MLS and MLB have now each suspended their seasons as well.
Emmert announced Wednesday that the tournaments would proceed with restricted attendance.
In a press conference Wednesday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said that under forthcoming rules regarding mass gatherings, first-round NCAA Tournament games in Dayton, Ohio, and Cleveland would not have spectators.
DeWine said the order on mass gatherings comes from a larger risk of contracting the virus in larger groups. For smaller events, DeWine said Ohioans should ask themselves if their attendance at the event is necessary and if there will be a great enough distance between others to not spread the disease.
In Italy, sports have been suspended until April.